by Michael J. Shapiro | February 24, 2010

More than 1,100 people were in attendance as of Monday morning for Meeting Professionals International's MeetDifferent conference, which took place Feb. 20-23 in Cancún. The number was slightly below the organization's expectations, acknowledged CEO Bruce MacMillan, who added that MPI was "very happy with the turnout." That figure includes 100 planners in MPI's first-ever hosted-buyer program, who participated in more than 1,500 one-on-one business meetings, as well some 160 planners from Mexico. The organization hasn't yet named a site or date for a MeetDifferent conference next winter, and currently is evaluating whether to hold the event, according to an MPI spokesperson. Others associated with the organization, however, said MeetDifferent will not take place in 2011. MPI's World Education Congress, to be held July 24- 27 in Vancouver, will feature both a trade show and a hosted-buyer's program; in 2011, however, the WEC will focus on the hosted-buyer format, and MPI will direct its members and exhibitors who value the trade show experience to the first IMEX America, which takes place at the end of October in Las Vegas. MPI is an exclusive strategic partner for the IMEX America event. Also at the conference, the MPI Foundation announced a research alliance with Reed Travel Exhibitions to produce a comprehensive study of meeting and business event performance, which will be presented at the first AIBTM event in Baltimore in June 2011. The foundation also announced it will receive a $500,000, five-year investment from the InterContinental Hotels Group, to further the study and development of industry standards for corporate social responsibility.